Michigan thread

To celebrate today’s primaries in Michigan, I hereby present presidential election open thread number two.

Author: William Bowe

William Bowe is a Perth-based election analyst and occasional teacher of political science. His blog, The Poll Bludger, has existed in one form or another since 2004, and is one of the most heavily trafficked websites on Australian politics.

491 comments on “Michigan thread”

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  1. [399
    Adam Says:
    January 17th, 2008 at 5:10 pm
    Didn’t the WA Libs try the “blokey image” thing with Matt Birney? That went well as I recall.]

    Yep, he stuffed up when he asked whether it was appropriate for the pope to take his partner on a taxpayer-funded trip., oh and being Missing in Action when one-vote -one value legislation was beiung voted on.

    [I’m losing track of state Liberal leaders. Perhaps William could have a little box on his front page, headed “Today’s Liberal Leaders.”]

    Good idea 🙂

  2. ESJ,
    I for one find this discussion on Israel very enlightening, especially as the problems there are the irritating pebble in the Middle Eastern shoe.
    If we hope to have peace in our time we need to be able to see it from both sides.
    It is possible to be pro-Israel and pro-Palestine, just as one can be pro- black and pro-white…..it is not a matter of either /or.
    Surely you are jesting with your 394 above? Especially after previous posts detailing exactly why.

  3. 403
    Megan

    Once again we see people divided ideologically and the overwhelming human tragedy is almost a postscript.

    I’d criticize one of Adam’s points: Zionism is NOT the state of Isreal, in fact there are many J3ws who do not subscribe to the tenets of what Zionism has become, (even some who actually live there), but I fear we might end up in an argument (LOL!).

    What makes the whole thing so frustratingly silly is that these people have many racial connections, cultural connections, and except for adherence to a different god, could assimilate quite easily. In fact much of the Middle East, for much of the last thousand years, has had Arabs and J3ws living in very amicable terms in close proximity. Zionism pretty much put an end to that.

  4. Au contraire codger all 397 shows is that Mayoferal is closed to all and any thought which challenges his world view.

    The simple are always content in their platitudes.

  5. ESJ @ 394 – Deserve? It’s their right in law, specifically, but not limited to, the right of self determination provisions of the UN Charter, Ch 1, Article 1, para 1 and UN International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, Part 1, Ch 1, para 1. The very provisions the General Assembly breached when it allowed itself to be bribed and bullied by the US into authorising the partition of Palestine.

    Contrary to the propaganda we’ve been subjected to, the Palestinians are not required in law to jump through any hoops in order to remove the illegal occupier of their lands, anymore than the Belgiums were after both World Wars.

    Now a question for you? Why do the Israelis deserve to retain even a square millimetre of the territory they obtained in the Dec 1947-14th May 1948 terrorist raids/ethnic cleansing attacks and the 1948, 1956, and 1967 Lebensraum wars they began?

  6. ESJ @ 406 – On challenges to my world view your contribution has been limited to a questioning of whether I am antisemitic and a couple of posts applauding Israelis, vilifying Palestinians, and justifying Israel’s actions because Israelis have also done good.

    On the latter point, Adolph solved German unemployment, got the trains running on time and built the autobahns. All no doubt worthy endevours but they don’t excuse his Lebensraum wars or the ethnic cleansing of European J*wry anymore than the remarkable achievements of Israelis excuse their Lebensraum wars or the ethnic cleansing, admittedly with far, far fewer dead, so far, of Palestinians in 1947/8 and more recently.

  7. MayoF , because of some bloke called Balfour, because of a UN vote, because the j.ws are a hardworking and industrious people who have made something of a desert (compared to their corrupt neighbours), because of the Holocaust, because they are democratic, because the Arabs gambled on war and lost and too many other reasons to mention

  8. Well, Michigan, yes, let’s get back to something we won’t kill each other over!

    Looks like it IS the economy,stupid.

    US inflation has taken off, employment just stopped in its tracks, retail sales took a whack, credit issues abound, defaults on loans continue apace, the US dollar is disappearing down the S-bend, and they’ve got a few wars going on that do not have an end anywhere in sight.

    Meanwhile their bank stocks have been slashed to a shadow of their former glory and they are going hat in hand to the Arabs and Asians for ‘hard’ currency, and lots of it. Let’s hope the lenders don’t get sick of being taken for a ride anytime soon or it’s game set and match.

    The Fed Reserve, under the sorcerer’s apprentice, (remember Ben? you know, the guy who told us last year that the subprime thingo wasn’t a big deal?) is now in a tizz and trying to work out whether to literally throw cash out of a helicopter, or let the Federal Government just forget about collecting taxes, or maybe both.

    In other words, ladies and gentleman, the biggest economic crisis since the depression is brewing like a perfect storm and they’re all engrossed on the ever so scintillating task of holding a presidential candidate’s beauty contest, at vast expence, of course.

    A beauty contest on the deck of the Titanic is what it feels like! A little chilly for the bikini section, but the participants and the media are so enthralled they hardly seem to notice that big white thing floating on the horizon.

  9. 414
    Megan

    Can I say, tongue in cheek: “Render unto Ceasar, or maybe Syria or some other god forsaken hole, and do unto others what you’d not do youself’

    This takes money Megan, lots of money, to keep unmarked charted jets circling the globe for the luxrious transportation of certain individuals, some of whom just turn out to be average Mohammeds, so they can be delivered to luxurious accomodation, and have a team of professionals wait hand and foot on them for that snippet of vital information which the CIA so dearly loves to recieve.

    Money, lots of it. This is not a kind of luxury tourist outfit that can run on small change! And my god, it’s making America great!

  10. Talk about making flowers bloom in the desert! Yep, every time you look it’s another rip roaring success:

    Patrick Cockburn reports that poppy cultivation for opium production is spreading rapidly in Diyala Province, and that the profits are fueling narco-terrorism because the fields are controlled by the Salafi Jihadis. American rule of Iraq is like the four horses of the apocalypse.

    (Juan Cole)

    Here’s the link to Cockburn’s article:

    http://news.independent.co.uk/world/middle_east/article3345186.ece

    Just when Condi Rice has been telling the world how wonderful the new de-Ba’athification law is! (Which it most surely isn’t with most of the Sunni parliamentarians giving it the thumbs down. But hey, Condi can tell the world anything she wants, and the adoring media just lap it up like it’s mother’s milk).

    It just gets better, and better.

  11. Adam – [German trains have always run on time.]

    Yeah, just like Lufthansa’s planes always depart on time, as its pilots are quick to remind you, except for all the times when they haven’t. Like the ‘memorable’ occasion I, and 400 other fools, had to search, in freezing rain and sleet, through a mountain of luggage dumped on a Frankfurt airport apron because they’d accepted unaccompanied baggage and now didn’t now know which bag might contain the bomb.

    But yes, I was wrong, it was Mussolini, not Hitler, though experience suggests that the boast was almost certainly greatly exaggerated.

  12. KR, I’m allowing a lot of latitude in discussion of the Iraq war on the presidential election threads, but I think I draw the line at you rushing to this site every time Juan Cole scratches himself.

  13. KR – the Iraqi opium growing is probably just a clever Yankee scheme to get their Afghan warlord buddies in the same business mad at the Salafi Jihadis in the hope said warlords come and give them what for.

    Or perhaps the Turks, the guys who make the big bucks out of selling Afghan opium in Europe, want to reduce the length of the supply line. Wonder if the CIA is getting its usual share?

  14. as a matter of interest could the dreaded M wotd come into play
    either to dog hilary or be used by republicans as a smear tactic

    any thoughts (it is the 10th anniversary after all)

  15. 419
    MayoFeral

    Every time I read that the ‘surge’ is working I know we live in an Orwellian world of double-speak!

    Of course this is McCain’s ticket, and he’s now running around saying how he never backed Rumsfeld’s crazy football team concept, and how he was the only guy to back the surge etc etc.

    Utterly amazing.

  16. My, my,
    things appear to be getting a little heated around here since I last checked in. Perhaps the whole Israel vs Palestine discussion is mirroring the tragic idiocy of what is actually happeniing there – little room for giving on either side and valid grievances and claims on both.
    I agree with Megan: an Either/Or approach is counterproductive.

    Back to the US (not that they are not involved), but I read a Christopher Hitchens article on Slate about Hillary (sorry: don’t know how to do the link thing and am v. ashamed..), and while I detest the man I almost had to agree with him re: her backflip on Iraq and what this says about her suitability as POTUS. And, do we really want Bill back in the Whitehouse, even as the First Lady??
    God help the female staff…

  17. Poor Repubs just keep forgetting which side yjey are on……………………

    A former congressman and delegate to the United Nations was indicted Wednesday on charges of working for an alleged terrorist fundraising ring that sent more than $130,000 to an al-Qaida supporter who has threatened U.S. and international troops in Afghanistan.

    Mark Deli Siljander, a Michigan Republican when he was in the House, was charged with money laundering, conspiracy and obstructing justice for allegedly lying about being hired to lobby senators on behalf of an Islamic charity that authorities said was secretly sending funds to terrorists.

  18. #424 red wombat

    A former congressman and delegate to the United Nations was indicted Wednesday on charges of working for an alleged terrorist fundraising ring that sent more than $130,000 to an al-Qaida supporter

    Oh, I hate this sort of stuff.

    1. we have an individual (who was a former congressman and delegate to the United Nations)
    2. we have an organization (which for the moment is an alleged terrorist fundraising ring)
    3. that said organization has sent more than $130,000 to an al-Qaida supporter

    Wow – $130,000 is chicken feed.
    Perhaps said organization needs a lobby group.
    Perhaps said supporter needs to review his/her CV.
    Perhaps red wombats should be re-posted when the facts are actually in.
    But what do I know…

  19. OK, it really is the economy! The US markets have dropped 9.2% in January and are heading for more of the same apparently.

    What sparked last night’s dump was the Philly Fed’s manufacturing report:

    The Philly Fed diffusion index fell to a negative 20.9 in January — the lowest level since October 2001 — from negative 1.6 in December. Readings below zero indicate most manufacturing firms surveyed in the region bounded by eastern Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware are reporting worsening business conditions.

    …and that dear folks, is enough to put the fox in the hen house. So just when housing starts have hit 16 year lows (sixteen!), inflation has jumped out of the box, oil is $90 a barrell, manufacturing starts going south…quickly!

    No wonder Bush is on the phone to Bernanke and Wall Street is screaming that Ben is way too late to do them any good.

    On another, but related theme: Just two years back the US congress got its knickers in a twist about foriegn governments buying into their infrastructure companies:

    In the United States more recently, controversy has centred on state-owned companies rather than acquisitive sovereign-wealth funds. The efforts of China National Offshore Oil Corporation to buy Unocal, a Californian oil company, in June 2005 roused opposition. And when DP World, a port operator owned by the government of Dubai, sought to take over P&O’s business in America, which included terminals in New York and New Jersey, a huge fuss broke out about Arab ownership of strategic infrastructure.

    …well, just look at how things have changed in a couple of years: in the last 10 months, foreign sovereign funds have bought $69 billion worth of US banks! And it looks like that little game could be going on for a while yet.

    OK, it was sell or die, literally, but you can feel the tension rising as they are forced to sell off the farm and they’re going to get awfully nervous that foreigners holding of it.

    Interesting times, as the Chinese would say!

  20. As you know, KR, “May you live in interesting times” is a Chinese curse. Unfortunately this curse may well be visited upon average Aussie mortgage holders who for 11 years trusted the rose coloured rantings of Coconut and Tip. Kev and Wayne now have the difficult job of minimising the fallout here. Let’s hope it amounts to more than putting up an umbrella to ward off a tidal wave

  21. It goes without saying that the survival of Kev’s government will largely be determined by how well their umbrella works. This will likely be the signature issue of Labor’s first term. Failure will see many long for the ‘golden years’ (which were really an Indian summer) of John and Peter swinging in their hammock.

  22. Ferny, we are definitely in for some backwash, but essentially our economy is robust, fully employed, and riding the commodites wave all the way to China. Sure, there will be some contraction as the US hits the wall, but we’ve ‘de-coupled’ as the economists so quaintly put it.

    Looks like Kev is going to knife Fed spending to keep some prudence in the budget, and if the Reserve keeps upping rates, we will probably get the balance right. Unlike the US, where the pressure on the Fed to drop rates is astronomical, despite it actually being imprudent and only a desperate attempt to forestall the inevitable.

    How this impacts the Presidential race is really going to get interesting. Already we’ve started to hear the usual polly-waffle and bidding war: my package is bigger than your package, and I’ve got more ‘stimulus’! (Hmm, double entendre anyone??)

    Like you have to ‘stimulate’ Americans to spend!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Gotta laugh really, coz that’s exactly why they are in the sh!t: they’ve been spending alright, spending money they don’t have which they’re borrowing from the rest of the rest of the world like it’s the magic puddin’.

    Yes, indeed, Ferny, may they live in interesting times.

  23. Trouble is KR, “if the Reserve keeps upping rates” (and the Banks do so independently of the Reserve due to the weakened state of their non-bank competition) then a lot of Aussies stand to lose an awful lot (and there’s an awful lot of very exposed folk in this fair land). And if that happens, this will be a one-term government in spite of the fact that they haven’t created the mess. Labor will be judged by their ability to put “downward pressure” on inflation/interest rates as they promised to do. If they fail then people in pain will reach for an alternative remedy, and Horatio & Co will be selling that alternative for all they’re worth. It will be snake oil of course, but the lable will be emblazoned with the halcion days of low interest rates under Coconut – and people in pain will buy it by the truckload.

  24. 434
    Ferny Grover

    Yeah, we’ve seen all that ‘my interest rate is smaller than your interest rate’ claptrap, but it was not in the context of a meltdown in US financial markets. To some extent, yes, the rhetoric will flow along those lines, but the public, never very well informed about economics, will be saturated with global economic stuff and will not be able to detach our predicament from it.

    There is a lot of exposure here, high household debt and over reliance on plastic, but if the rate rises are gradual enough, steady enough, then rising wages and falling debt will make it a ‘soft’ landing, as people are forced to pay down debt. The fly in the ointment is asset values, stocks are getting whacked at the moment, and the housing market is patchy. Expect both to fall a bit this year, but nothing like they will in the US, where their housing market is rapidly deflating.

    All up, we are in better shape in some ways, and it feels like Rudd is jumping early to make sure the Federal budget is not a drag on the national economy.

  25. Didn’t PJK talk about “soft landings’ at about the time he was spruiking the ‘J curve’?? Good to see you speaking optimistically (all things considered) of the local economy, KR. The umbrella might just work!

    Interestingly, the latest housing price figures in Qld continue to show steady growth, albeit slower than previous years – still a long way off devaluation or even plateuing though.

    Back to the topic at hand. Any tips for South Carolina?

  26. FG Obama looks like he will win South Carolina but the betting looks like it will revolve around the Huckabee vs McCain dogfight for the GOP.

  27. Yes Steve, I’ve seen those polls. Obama is about 6 points clear of Clinton and McCain a good 10 points on Huckabee. Still, their sample sizes tend to be small (around 600) and have a MOE of around 4-5% – AND it’s the USA where polling is always a bit dodgy. So nothing is certain.
    Gotta feel a bit for Edwards. He’s a native of SC and is scraping to register in the polls.
    How many delegates are at stake?

  28. We shouldn’t forget Nevada also caucuses on Saturday. Edwards is almost neck and neck with the leaders there and McCain appears just ahead of the pack – Guiliani, Huckabee and Romney all level pegging

  29. Thanks Steve. Looks like Seeney is trying to get the jump on Springborg by calling a spill before Springborg has decided if he even wants the job.

  30. KR
    Do I get anything for saying that the US is in recession first? (Hardly a prediction though).

    I think the US is almost certain to still be in recession in November (just as economic statistics take three quarters to recognise there is a recession, stiumulus packages take a while to work too). In that climate, I hope the Democrats take a leaf out of Kevin Rudd’s book, and point out what a big spending administration Bush has led. These “conservatives” have been radical spenders in domestic and military affairs. They are very vulnerable once the peopel start feeling the adverse consequences. And that time is now.

    In this climate I say again – Clinton and McCain will be the candidates, and Clinton will win.

  31. Socrates, we will get some inkling of things by the time we get to Florida and all will be revealed on 5 Feb. My guess is that McCain will be the compromise candidate for the GOP. The others all have serious baggage and only appeal to certain cliques within the party. McCain has the widest appeal and is the most sellable to the public. I also think he will be the hardest for the Dems to beat. Clinton is the establishment candidate for the Dems and I think she will be unbeatable in the large states that count. Personally I find her pedestrian and evasive – I prefer Obama, but I doubt he is electable.
    So we agree Socrates on the candidates. I really couldn’t pick a winner of a Clinton v McCain contest. I think it will be very tight – and that McCain is ahead by a nose at this point.

  32. If the US economy is going to be the big theme in this year’s presidential beauty contest, then the second big one for the Republicans will surely be the split between the religious right and the more sectarian conservatives. Enter Mike Huckabee, who’s capturing the evangelical crowd and is doing a virtual re-run of the discredited Bush line: ‘god chose me’.

    To get some idea of how loopy the Huckster really is, here’s a snippet from his 1997 book, “Character Is the Issue: How People With Integrity Can Revolutionize America”:

    “When two irreconcilable views emerge, one is going to dominate. Ours will either be a worldview with humans at the center or with God at the center … The winning worldview will dominate public policy, the laws we make, and every other detail of our existence.”

    He’s firmly in the dominionista, and for a fascinating look at some of his buddies in the movement, and some of their views (literally from the Dark Ages!), then try this article:

    http://www.salon.com/opinion/conason/2008/01/18/huckabee/

    …truly, very scary people!

  33. Yep KR – having seen the Southern Baptists up close, they are indeed very scarey. I believe PKR would refer to them, along with JWH, as (among other things) “pre-Copernican obscurantists”.

  34. 446
    Socrates

    yeah, first prize is the chalice of hemlock! (Just joking, or a round the world cruise in a single cabin with Xanthippe, take ya pick!!)

    At this moment, there’s considerable uncertianty as to when or if, the markets have it at 45% chance (which jumped from nowhere a month a go), Bernanke is talking it down, but the data ain’t lookin’ good. If growth goes negative, or even contracts a lot while inflation surges (ah, that word again!), then it could well be in that ugly fetid swamp of stagflation, which the Japanese can tell you all about!

    All the stimulus in the world does not easily extricate an economy from that swamp. And like the Japanese, you can hold interest rates underwater for years without it giving any buoyancy.

    This is not going to be pretty, and all the fiscal stimulus they are talking about will not immediately solve it either. Yep, you’re right, this will be the big gorilla well and truly out of the box by November, and it’s going to make selecting a president a very interesting affair.

    So, will they go for ‘hope’ and ‘change’ or whoever promises them more of the magic puddin’?

    Ah, that’s the 6 trillion dollar question (expressed in new inflated dollar terms!).

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